Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Columbia, MO/Annapolis, MD
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Wow, can I relate!
When I round into the creek getting close to my slip I always say "I'd rather get a root canal than dock this boat!" Actually, that's not really true, I hate to go to the dentist! But our boat backs hard to port and is a pain to dock.
This is what I've done to make it a bit easier. I back my boat into the slip, but you can do the same thing really if you go bow in.
I know if I get my starboard springline on it will stop the backward motion of the boat and draw the stern of my boat to starboard and my finger pier.
I have my starboard springline green to distinguish from my forward dockline which is white. I have a loop in my springline so it can be dropped onto the cleat, mid ship with ease. AND I pre-measured it so I know it's does what it's suppose to do.
I have taken apart two Schaefer Marine Handi-Hangers. The "balls" from the Handi Hangers I have sewn into the bitter ends of my stern lines. The "hanger piece" of the Handi Hangers I have attached to the wooden piling which is at the beginning of my finger pier. So I get to that piling just before my finger pier.
As I'm backing the boat in,the springline goes on, kicks the stern of my boat to starboard and I can reach with one hand my two stern lines that are hanging on the Handi Hangers, on that piling.
The springline has stopped the motion of the boat, kicked it to starboard which is the same side of my finger pier, and I have my stern lines which gives me control of the stern and the bow.
I NEVER jump off my boat to the pier. And I always tell my crew, it's my responsibility to position the boat in the slip and make it easy for them. No one should have to jump off!
We also have cheat lines on both sides of the slip that go from forward piling to the piling at the finger pier. And yes, there are days I use those to literally pull my boat in until I get to my stern lines.
Practice on flat a** calm days..over and over and over.
Never hesitate to go bow into your slip if that's easier for you.
I'm also never hesitant to radio the marina and ask for help if I get caught in a situation with very strong crosswinds. I've only had to do this once and I was solo coming in. A six pack of beer is all the thanks they need.
And I never hesitate to pass up the slip and try again.
Know your boat, set up the slip for your boat and your situation.
Two people on my dock have their stern lines haning on an arm that come out of the dock. The disadvantage of this is they have to back their boat almost all the way in to reach those lines. I like the idea of having my stern lines in my hands well before that. My stern lines are out of the water too... and I like that!
I am obligated to say although I do NOT manufacture Handi Hangers my company does sell them. However, you can purchase them from lots of other places! And you can rig up your stern dock lines and piling using good old creativity!
"The God's do not subtract from man's
(or woman's) allotted time the hours spent in sailing."